This article details the struggles churches and synagogues are facing in the wake of Katrina. Fr. Kramer is a friend and I spent a year and a half teaching at Annunciation. They are doing outstanding work to bring relief and hope to a neighborhood that has been devestated and is only 4 long blocks from Tulane and across the street from the hospital where our children were born.
Since Katrina broke levees and flooded New Orleans, the Episcopal Church of the Annunciation is no longer an 85-year-old Gothic brick building on a busy corner of South Claiborne Avenue. It is a congregation trying to worship together, whether on the Internet, in a parking lot or now in the comparative luxury of a double-wide trailer, where parishioners muddle through songs without any organ or piano accompaniment.
The priest, Jerry Kramer, was once a missionary in Africa; he never dreamed he would one day look back on that job as the easier assignment.
Kramer, 38, lost his home and his church when Katrina hit Aug. 29. The neighborhood where he lives and works may not be rebuilt because it is too flood-prone. In less than a year, his three children, 6 to 14, have attended three schools and lived in nine homes. Many of his parishioners have no homes at all. And he worries about the more than 100 people who used to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings every Saturday at the church.
Kramer is trying to buy property around his church to install government-supplied trailers for his homeless parishioners. He wants to build showers and a laundry for neighbors working on their damaged homes.